NFL fans condemn Vikings, Greg Joseph for Israel-supporting gesture - “Disgusting”, “This is gross”
Greg Joseph is a South Africa-born placekicker who won Super Bowl LV with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The undrafted special teamer has been in the league since 2018 after making the cut with the Cleveland Browns. The former Florida Atlantic standout has played for the Minnesota Vikings since 2021.
As of Week 13, Joseph’s efforts have helped the Vikings stay within contention for a spot in the NFC playoffs. However, he’s getting attention for the cleats he will reportedly wear during their Week 14 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Greg Joseph is taking flak for his in-game footwear this Sunday
Sports business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted photos of the customized cleats Joseph is set to wear in their game against the Raiders with the caption:
“This Sunday against the Raiders, various people within the Vikings organization will be supporting Israel on their feet. Kicker Greg Joseph’s cleats and sneakers that will be worn by the Wilfs and team CEO Andrew Miller."
Stadium Custom Kick created the customized football shoe. Fans took to social media to criticise the Vikings and Joseph after the report. One X user summarised his thoughts in a one-word tweet.
Meanwhile, another user chimed in by saying:
“This is gross”
Here are other reactions to Greg Joseph’s customized cleats as part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign.
The My Cause, My Cleats initiative started in 2016 as a partnership between the league and its players. During Weeks 13 and 14, select players wear customized cleats that bear the socio-civic causes they support. It could range from underserved communities, youth empowerment, mental health, medical conditions, and social justice initiatives, among others.
These cleats will be auctioned off as the player’s way of raising funds for the causes they support. Aside from current players like Greg Joseph, NFL legends like Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Howie Long, and Torry Holt are auctioning customized cleats.
Even non-player NFL personalities like former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher and NFL Network host Rich Eisen have cleats for bidding. All of the auction proceeds from the My Clause, My Cleats initiative go to the NFL Foundation, which then donates the money to the chosen charity or cause.
Azeez Al-Shaair wore cleats in support of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
While Greg Joseph wore cleats supporting Israel, Tennessee Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair donned customized cleats supporting the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. This non-profit organization provides medical assistance and essential needs to injured, displaced, or homeless children due to the current unrest in the region.
Coincidentally, Al-Shaair and Joseph were teammates at Florida Atlantic from 2015 to 2017. Al-Shaair went undrafted in 2019 but was signed by the San Francisco 49ers.